Is the defendant’s objection to the motion for summary judgment a separate submission that precedes his actual detailed reply/response to it or are they one in the same?
They are one in the same. Normally one files an Objection to Motion for Summary Judgment and lists therein all of the reasons why the motion should not be granted. One can normally separately file a brief in support of the objection, or simply include the brief with the objection as one document.
Will there be another, earlier hearing scheduled regarding the objection?
No, the filing of an objection just ensures that the court does not automatically grant the motion based on no opposition from the non-moving party.
Sometimes, even in the absence of a filed objection, the court will set the matter for hearing (which is what it sounds like happened in your case since you have not filed an objection and since a hearing was set), but I always like to file the formal objection just in case.
In any case, the Motion for Summary Judgment and the objection thereto are normally heard all at once.
What is the process for objecting to the motion for summary judgment?
You file the objection with the court. If you are an attorney, you are normally required to file the objection electronically using the electronic case filing system, but non-attorneys can usually still file a paper objection by typing the objection, signing it, and mailing it to (or hand-filing at) the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court. Your jurisdiction may vary from this procedure though, but I would suspect it works the same in New Jersey as it does in my jurisdiction.Exactly what does the defendant need to do and by when?
Usually the court sends out a notice to the defendant and states the deadline to object to the motion therein, so you might want to look at everything received from the court to see if a deadline is in any of the documents. The objection doesn't have to be in any particular format to be accepted by the court, as long as it has the case heading, says it is an objection to the Motion for Summary Judgment, and it signed by the person submitting it. In my jurisdiction, you don't have to list all the reasons why you are objecting, simply that you do object, though I always do list all my reasons for objecting so the court knows my objection is based on good faith arguments.Specifically, what are the deadlines?
• for filing an objection to summary judgment
• for the judge to approve/deny the objection that summary judgment is inappropriate at this time
• for filing the reply/response with the defendant’s entire defense to the Motion for Summary Judgment
28 days I think
, though this may be specific to my jurisdiction. It has been a few years since I had to respond to a SJ motion, and the court changed several time frames for objections/responses recently. HERE
is the instructions for my jurisdiction, though I don't know if the time frame is the same in New Jersey. But, like I said above, if the court went ahead and set it for hearing then obviously the court is not going to grant it automatically, so you can attend the hearing and make your arguments there, though for the sake of prudence I always still file a written objection ASAP.Please also note that in the plaintiff’s attorney’s Certification for the Motion for Summary Judgment he states “The parties have exchanged discovery in the form of Interrogatories, Demand for Documents and Requests for Admissions.” Technically, this is a true statement, but the facts are that the defendant responded in excruciating detail and to the best of his ability to every one of the plaintiff’s requests whereas the plaintiff refused to respond to anything. The defendant has sent two letters to plaintiff’s attorney.
It might be worth noting in the objection that the plaintiff's indication that discovery was "exchanged" is misleading since only the defendant provided discovery, and that the plaintiff has (so far) failed to do so.
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